by Al Sacco

Smartphone Stocking Stuffers: 15 Hot Accessories and Add-Ons

Dec 02, 2009
iPhoneMobileSmall and Medium Business's mobile guru Al Sacco scoured the Web for the best and most affordable stocking stuffers sure to bring joy to the hearts of smartphone-lovers this holiday season - iPhone, BlackBerry, Window Mobile, Palm and Android users alike. With our smartphone accessory gift guide, you can quickly please every handset hound on your list.

Smartphone Storage: microSD Memory Cards

Many of today’s smartphones have microSD memory-card slots to expand your total storage. Recent demand for the previously-costly cards has resulted in a significant price-drop, with 2GB and 4GB card selling for less than $10 in some cases. 16GB cards, the largest widely available microSD cards, are also coming down in price, to about $50. If your loved one has a microSD compatible device, you can’t go wrong with memory cards. Various capacity cards are available at your local electronics store. Or check out and for even lower prices.

“Skins” for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and More


Typically considered to be the most lightweight and unobtrusive smartphone cases, “skins” or flexible, thin rubber cases, are a great way to simultaneously protect and customize your device. Since they rarely cost more than $10 or $15, why not buy a few?

A plethora of smartphone skins for BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Android devices can be found at your local wireless carrier’s store, Best Buy or an equivalent brick-and-mortar shop. You can also find them online, where you’ll find the best prices, but remember to consider shipping costs before you purchase.

Bluetooth Headsets for iPhone, Blackberry, Others


Bluetooth headsets make a fun and practical gift for smartphone enthusiasts, especially with so much driving-while-texting legislation on the books across the United States and beyond. I recommend headsets from BlueAnt (Q1) and JawBone (PRIME), but I have admittedly pricey tastes. Cheaper options from companies such as Jabra and BlackBerry-maker RIM are also sure to put a smile on your smartphone-lover’s mug.

Spare or Replacement Batteries


Few accessories do more for smartphone addicts than backup batteries—especially when their devices run out of juice. Help ensure your smartphone lover is never caught without a charge by gifting spare batteries this season. Prices vary depending on device, but you can find spare batteries on the cheap online, just hit up Google for best deals. A new standard-capacity battery should sell for less $40, while extended batteries are a bit pricier. (Note: Some popular smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone, have fixed batteries that cannot be replaced.)

App Store Gift Cards for Smartphone Software


Apple’s iTunes App Store is currently the only official mobile software shop that offers gift cards. That’s just unfortunate—yes, I’m looking at you BlackBerry App World—because app store gift cards not only enhance recipients’ smartphone experiences, but also let recipients pick their own software to ensure just the right gift. You can always send off an AmEx or Visa gift card with instructions to buy software, but that’s not the same…You can order and customize iTunes gift cards online or pick them up at your local Target or Walmart.

Custom Smartphone Cases for BlackBerry, iPhone, Others


Finding custom smartphone cases online is no challenge; it’s finding and deciding on a quality case that’s best-suited for you—or your loved-one—that’s the hard part. I recommend both Shinnorie and Vaja, which make a wide variety of case-styles—though neither company is “cheap.”

Shinnorie and Vaja make cases for a variety of devices including BlackBerry, iPhone, HTC, Nokia and Palm handsets. Prices vary depending on case style and customization, but you can expect to pay at least $60 for each case. (Note: You’ll want to order custom cases soon, as they can take weeks to make.)

Smartphone Car-Mounts for GPS Navigation


GPS-based, turn-by-turn navigation applications are currently available for every major mobile platform and on all U.S. wireless carriers—though your device must be GPS-enabled to employ the services. GPS navigation apps offer nearly all the same features as standalone GPS units, but unlike those dedicated gadgets, smartphones don’t often come with car-mounts. No worries. Quality vehicle-mounts for smartphones can be had for less than $30. (I’m partial to the Gomadic mount I’ve been using since last Christmas.)

Bluetooth Speakerphones with In-Car Media Streaming


Does the smartphone-enthusiast in your life spend much of his or her time in the car? Bluetooth speakerphones are a great alternative to those occasionally-awkward—and plain ol’ silly-looking—in-ear headsets. And many of them offer additional features like media streaming from smartphones to vehicle stereo systems via Bluetooth. I’m a big fan of RIM’s BlackBerry Visor Mount Speakerphone (roughly $120), which works with non-BlackBerry devices, and Jabra’s SP700 Bluetooth (about $100).

Smartphone-Battery Extender-Packs


What’s the next best thing than a fully-charged, backup smartphone battery? Why, a battery-extension pack, of course. Smartphone battery booster packs, like Mophie’s Juice Pack Air for iPhone and Case-Mate’s Fuel pack for a variety of devices (both sell for roughly $80), can be a bit awkward; they add bulk and weight to your device when attached. But they’ll be well-worth the minor inconvenience after your loved-one’s smartphone battery bites the dust. In fact, extended battery packs can more than double total device battery life.

Stereo Bluetooth Headphones


Smartphones increasingly double as media players, and a good pair of headphones can vastly improve the multimedia experience. In fact, one of the best ways to consume audio content via smartphone is to employ a set of stereo Bluetooth headphones, which connect to your smartphone wirelessly to do away with those pesky cords. I’ve had good experiences with stereo Bluetooth headphones from Samsung, Motorola, Jabra and others. Check out for reasonable prices; you can expect to pay between $40 and $100 for a decent set of wireless headphones.

Smartphone Charging Docks/Pods for BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm


Wall-chargers are sooo 2008. Welcome the gadget-geek in your life to the coming year with a new-fangled charging accessory like the BlackBerry Charge Pod, iPhone Universal Dock or a Palm Touchstone, for use with the Pre and/or Pixi. Each product makes powering-up your favorite gadget as easy as dropping it into/onto a charging “cradle.” Prices vary on BlackBerry Pods ($5 to $40) because there are many different models, but Apple charges $50 for the iPhone pod and Palm wants $70 for its Touchstone kit. (Do some online pricing before buying.)

Memory Card Wallet for Smartphone-Media-Card Storage


There’s no better way to organize and store smartphone media cards than in a memory card wallet. With slots for a variety of card-sizes, memory card wallets make it simple to keep track of those tiny microSD cards, and all your other cards, while protecting them from damage. A variety of wallets in different sizes, materials and styles can be found online, but I keep it simple with CarryMobile’s $25 memory card wallet.

Unique, Customizable Smartphone Battery Doors


One quick and easy way to customize a smartphone is by replacing the factory battery door with something more “festive”—where available. (Some smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone, have fixed battery doors that cannot be removed.) Most BlackBerry smartphones have replaceable battery doors (about $20), and new options are simple to find on sites like Palm’s new Pixi device can also be customized with a number of cool—yet costly—battery doors designed by notable artists ($50 each). Also check out for custom doors.

Universal Smartphone Charger and Adapters


The wireless gadget industry has made a significant shift toward using microUSB as a standard for charging ports, but many older or specialty smartphones still employ proprietary or custom ports for syncing data and powering up. A universal smartphone charger lets you simply switch adapters, or “nibs,” whenever you need to charge different gadgets, so you never need to carry more than one cable. I’ve been using Malleable Devices’ kwikSynCh Dual Charger ($14.95) for years, and I’m a big fan. Zip-Linq also makes a comparable product with a longer, retractable cord (about $25).

Smartphone Screen Cleaners and Display Cloths


Smartphone cleaning is an important part of proper device maintenance, and though an average, moist, lint-free cloth will do the trick more often than not, smartphone purists may want branded display cloths like the iPhone “shammy” that comes with Apple’s smartphone. BlackBerry users are in luck, if so: You can pick up RIM’s BlackBerry-branded screen wipe online ($9). I’m also a big fan of La Fresh’s “Tech Pack” of travel wipes ($6), with three different cloths meant specifically for cleansing gadgets.